Skip to content
Donate Now! Press Team Souvenirs Mt. Everest Info Sponsors Contact Home
Overview Summit Team Challenge Trek Team Daily Logs/Photos

Donate OnlinePress Room


Unique Disability Team Heading to Mount Everest in 2003


AUSTIN, TEXAS May 28, 2002
Backpacking through the pristine mountain wilderness of New Mexico, a group of Austin teens saw an opportunity to use their experience to promote the capabilities of people with disabilities. The boys, part of a larger group from the Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America trekking at the Philmont Scout Ranch, climbed to the summit of the highest mountain in the area while carrying the Team Everest ’03 banner. Four of the nine scouts summitting Mt. Phillips have disabilities that require daily medication or regular monitoring. Only a few years back, those disabilities would have prevented the boys from joining a strenuous wilderness trip.

Team Everest ‘03 spotlights the potential of people with disabilities and is led by Austin mountaineer Gary Guller, a climber with only one arm. The event is promoting 50 years of progress in improving the lives of those with disabilities while paralleling the 50th anniversary of the first summit of Everest. Guller will lead this unique team of individuals with diverse disabilities on the three-week Challenge Trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp at 17,500 ft. before himself attempting the 29,035 ft. summit.

“Carrying the banner to the top of Mt. Phillips made us feel part of something special, by helping the world know that a disability shouldn’t get in the way of your goals,” said scout Barrett Black. Also making the climb were Andre Dahman, Austin Atherton, Austin Friestman, David Bukstein, Sol Richey, Michael Borel, Wes Wright and Eric Garrison.

“Disability is a natural part of life. Just as the boys enriched the Mt. Phillips ascent, so should all aspects of society welcome the full participation of people with disabilities,” said Dennis Borel, executive director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) and organizer of the Team Everest ’03 expedition.

“Team Everest ’03 has a powerful message; it models how society can open the door of opportunity to all people, regardless of their ability or disability,” says expedition leader Guller, “Several of our Challenge Trek members have severe disabilities and they will shatter the stereotypes of what can be accomplished.”

CTD is continuing to accept applications from people with disabilities for the Challenge Trek. For more information about the Team Everest ’03 Challenge Trek, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities or Gary Guller, please contact Dennis Borel at (512) 478-3366. A photo of the Boy Scouts at the peak of Mt. Phillips is available.

Press Contact:
Dennis Borel
Project Director
(512) 478-3366